Cool tools for school
Q: I’m off to college in the fall and am
looking at computers. Would a tablet
suffice, or should I get a laptop?
Since laptops and desktops have been around a
lot longer than tablets, whatever software you might
require for your school curriculum will likely be for
Windows, which is not available
on most tablets.
A few other considerations
in favour of laptops: They tend
to have 10 times the storage (at
least 320 GB hard drive com-
pared to an average of 32 GB
of flash memory), they have
USB and SD card ports to eas-
ily get files on and off the com-
puter (only a couple of tablets
have this feature) and a laptop’s
file system lets you easily see
your files and folders, if desired.
A: First of all, congrats! Understanding the pros and
cons of touch-screen tablets and laptops should help
you decide which one is best for you. Here’s a look.
Instead of using a keyboard or a trackpad, with
a tablet you navigate through all your content by
simply tapping, swiping, flicking and pinching your
fingertips. Many say they can get more done in less
time because of this natural user interface.
Tablets are more portable than laptops as they’re
thinner and lighter. Plus, they turn on right away,
like a mobile phone, so there’s no waiting to boot up
the operating system. A laptop’s battery typically
lasts three to four hours, but a tablet’s battery usually
lasts two or three times longer.
electronics or computers
Many argue that tablets are
suited more for media consumption
rather than content creation, but there is
no shortage of apps that will let you take
Finding and installing software is incredibly
easy on a tablet. Instead of buying a disc and following installation instructions and options, apps are
digitally distributed, automatically installed and
start with a simple tap.
Finally, some things are simply easier on a tablet, such as reading e-books, digital magazines and
(and organize) lecture notes, write documents, crunch numbers on spreadsheets, create
presentations and manage your course load.
Just be sure you’re comfortable, fast and accurate on the touch screen or consider an accessory
that imparts some of that laptop feel and functional-ity to the tablet.
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Q: What accessories are important
for a student?
Or mail to:
Laptops beat tablets in other areas. Perhaps
most important for students who need to do a lot of
typing, a physical QWERTY keyboard is often the
better choice. Not everyone will like typing a
20-page essay on a tablet’s flat screen. That’s why
tablet owners might want to opt for a keyboard
accessory (see next question), which might also be
the more ergonomic choice.
Q&A with Marc Saltzman
A: There are many inexpensive add-ons that can
add new features, protection or longevity to your
laptop or tablet. Here’s a shopping list:
The Costco Connection
415 West Hunt Club Road
• A backup solution to protect your school
work. If you don’t have a lot of files, pick up a small
USB thumb drive, which can plug into all laptops
and many tablets. If you’ve got a lot more than documents, use an external hard drive.
Ottawa, ON K2E 1C5
or fax to 425-427-3019.
A laptop also offers more screen real estate for
when you work with programs and multi-task
between them. Most laptops are 14 or 15 inches,
which is much bigger than a 7- to 10-inch tablet.
After class, when you want to watch a movie or play
a game, a bigger screen can deliver a more immer-sive experience.
• A wireless mouse for laptops
• A portable Bluetooth keyboard. This is ideal
for a tablet user who wants to do a lot of typing.
• Portable power. If your tablet’s battery isn’t
lasting as long as you do, external batteries can
charge up your devices while on the go—which is
better than trying to find an AC outlet. Many let
you charge up to two devices at the same time via
integrated USB ports. C
“Marc Saltzman Q&A”
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
The Costco Connection
Costco offers a variety of laptops and tablet
PCs, along with accessories, in the warehouses
and online at Costco.ca, all protected by Costco
Concierge tech support.
More in archives
On Costco.ca, enter “Connection”;
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